John Harbaugh will continue to rely on ‘mostly gut’ decisions after Ravens again fail to convert to 2 points

BALTIMORE – The Baltimore Ravens are squarely in the playoff bubble after doubling their controversial and heartbreaking losses this month.

For the second time in three weeks, Ravens coach John Harbaugh aggressively opted for a 2-point conversion in the last minute of regulation to win the game. And, for the second time in three weeks, Harbaugh defended his decision after the Ravens failed again.

With 42 seconds remaining, Tyler Huntley’s incompleteness against tight end Mark Andrews in the 2-point try led to the Ravens’ 31-30 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. The Ravens’ third straight loss brought them down to 8-6 and out of exclusive possession of the AFC North top spot for the first time since October 31.

“We were just trying to get the win there,” Harbaugh said. “I think our odds of winning there were a little higher than overtime, maybe if you calculate it. I felt good about that.”

Harbaugh said his decisions were based on “mostly guts” rather than analysis.

“The numbers are the numbers, but the numbers are not perfect,” Harbaugh said. “I can tell you this; i made a lot of holes in the numbers with the guys. They don’t take everything into account, so you just make a decision. The numbers are part of it, but the numbers are not the main decision. “

The Ravens became the first team to attempt multiple 2-point attempts when they lost a point in the fourth quarter, according to research by the Elias Sports Bureau.

On December 5, Harbaugh chose to go for 2 points after Baltimore moved closer to a point for the Pittsburgh Steelers with 12 seconds remaining. But Lamar Jackson’s pass bounced off Andrews’ outstretched hands in a 20-19 loss to Pittsburgh.

With Jackson out on Sunday due to a right ankle injury, Huntley faced a similar scenario and turned to Andrews as well. But, after rolling to his right, Huntley saw his pass flipped over by Packers goaltender Darnell Savage on the goal line.

Each time, the Ravens could have tied the game with an extra point from Justin Tucker, the most accurate kicker in NFL history. Harbaugh chose to end the game with a 2-point attempt, which was publicly supported by his players.

“It was ‘the’ decision. I don’t think there was anything else,” said Andrews, who had 136 yards and two touchdowns. “I told Coach I didn’t want it any other way. People think it’s wrong. I think it was the right thing to do.”

Packers coach Matt LaFleur said he would have made the same decision as Harbaugh.

“If I had been on the sidelines absolutely. I absolutely would have,” said LaFleur. “This is what I had planned.”

ESPN’s probability of winning was slightly in favor of kick after kick (51% chance of winning), but it was basically a toss due to factors like injury.

The most questionable decision was Harbaugh’s decision not to score 2 points after Baltimore closed at 31-23 with 4:47 left. If the Ravens had made this 2-point conversion, they would only need an extra point in the end to win the game. If Baltimore had failed, he would still have had a chance to tie the game with a 2-point try at the end.

The Ravens are the first team in NFL history to lose three straight games in a single season by a combined total of four points or less.

When asked if the two failed conversions would affect whether he did so in the future, Harbaugh said, “It goes from situation to situation. For me, in both of these cases, it gave us the best chance of win. Because we didn’t win doesn’t make it wrong. It’s still true now, just as true as it was then. So it doesn’t always work. “

The Ravens have failed on six 2-point tries this season, tied with the Minnesota Vikings for most in the NFL.

On Sunday, Baltimore would have converted the 2-point attempt at the end of the game if Huntley had thrown the ball to an open Marquise Brown who was running to the back of the end zone. Brown had 4.41 yards separation with the closest defenseman, according to NFL Next Gen Stats.

When asked if he had seen Brown, Huntley replied, “No, I haven’t seen him.”

The loss ruined an admirable effort by the shorthanded Ravens, who were 9.5-point underdogs playing with a depleted offensive and secondary line. In his second career start, Huntley became the first player in Ravens history to throw two touchdown passes and run for two touchdowns.

Baltimore has dropped a spot outside of the AFC’s seven-team playoff race and now has a 54% chance of making the playoffs, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index.

The Ravens play Cincinnati with the division’s top spot on the line next week. Baltimore could also see the return of Jackson, who missed a game with injury for the first time in a four-year career.

“We expect him to be back next week,” Harbaugh said. “But if he’s not able to be completely ready, then we’ll go with Tyler. So we’ll be good to go either way.”